Early last year Capcom and Marvel released Marvel vs. Capcom 3 on the PS3 and Xbox 360 to much acclaim, as it was the first new game in the long-running sub-series in more than 11 years. However, only a few months after, both companies revealed a new "Ultimate" version of the game which included 12 new characters and a bevy of tweaks and bug fixes from the original version. And although some fans were annoyed at the move, they still picked it up since it was still "Mahval baby". With the release of the PlayStation Vita, Capcom has decided to bring the Ultimate version to the smaller screen with some new extras. But is this worth the time and money for the hardcore fans who already own either the original or the updated iterations?
(We already did a review last year for the Ultimate version of Marvel vs. Capcom 3, so the remainder of this review will focus on what's new in the PlayStation Vita version.)
Most fervent fighting game aficionados know that generally most handheld ports of fighting games are lackluster compared to the original. Sometimes this is due to the lack of graphical fidelity or issues with the system's controls (the original PSP-1000's directional pad being a big example), but for the most part there was some nagging issue which brought down the experience. But in UMvC3's case this isn’t an issue.
Outside of some minor sluggishness when performing hyper combos, the rest of the game performs just as you would expect on the console version and looks beautifully as each of the fighters are rendered in their full detail even on the Vita's smaller screen. Of course, there were a few concessions such as projectile effects being downressed and the animated backgrounds being simplified akin to what happened with Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition (although there are some animations going on unlike that game), but these faults are exceptionally minor considering most of the action and attention is on the characters during the match.
Like the other launch titles for the Vita, UMvC3 includes its own variant of touch controls which can be used in both single and multiplayer. You move the character by swiping in any given direction and tap the screen to launch an attack, usually resulting in a multiple-hit combo ending in a ultra. It's a fun novelty mode which unlocks a few in-game titles after repeated use, but any veteran will be able to work around it without a problem. Capcom also knows those veterans won't particularly like to play against these players either and added in the option to filter them out from online matches which helps out both sides from feeling frustrated.
While a spectator mode was added in the console version of UMvC3, many players also wished for replay support to be added. And while there's currently no plans to port this back into the console version, the Vita version has this as another one of its new additions. Players can view a replay-specific scoreboard which lets them sort through replays based on region and view them and even save them to the Vita's memory if they wish. Hardcore fans should appreciate this mode since it lets you scroll frame-by-frame to show the input data and the hit box overlays for the two fighters.
Unlike the console version, the game does suffer from a minor bit of lag during online matches. Part of it was due to the hyper combo slowdown explained earlier, but other times it felt like the Vita's hardware just couldn't keep up with a ton of action was taking place on the screen. This didn't happen every time, but it does appear that Capcom could have used a few more months in development to iron out these minor issues.
All in all, Capcom's PlayStation Vita port of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is essentially one of the best console-to-handheld ports we've seen so far. It takes everything fans loved about the original and brings it to the handhelds with only a few minor issues that can easily be overlooked if you aren't an overly nit-picky fan of the series. If you are a hardcore fan of the series and want to step your game on-the-go, this is worth your purchase. And for those who are new to the series or are old-time fans coming back again, as long as you put in the effort you’ll be taken for one hell of a ride.
|» Replay functionality is pretty sweet.|
|» Very strong port.|
|» Touch controls are a fun novelty.|
|» There's some minor lag when playing online.|
|» Not a great deal extra over the previous few versions.|
|» Very geared towards online play.|